Differing Scholarly Views on the Euthanasia Situation
People in Canada are diagnosed with terminal illness’ every day. They know when they are going to die and often suffer until then. Why can’t patients diagnosed with a terminal illness be given the option to be euthanized? It would allow such patients to die painlessly and peacefully instead of having to suffer. While currently illegal in all but five areas of the world, assisted suicide and euthanasia are quickly becoming a more prevalent topic globally with more and more countries looking at making the move to legalize the acts. It has been legalized nationally in countries such as the Netherlands, Luxembourg and Belgium while also being legalized in the states of Oregon and Washington in the United States of America. The article from the New England Journal of Medicine, Redefining Physicians` Role in Assisted Dying by Lisa Lehmann, uses the state of Oregon as a basis for much of her research and probing into both sides of the argument behind euthanasia. Margaret Somerville, a world renown ethicist and academic known for some of her controversial views, also gives her own insight into the topic in the article Legalized Euthanasia Only a Breath Away, published by the Globe and Mail. Somerville bases much of her argument around personal opinions and strong beliefs. I will examine the merits and proposals brought forth by each author and compare them to each other. The contrast between these two papers is quite evident in ways of structure and delivery of information. In Somerville`s article, she establishes early on that, morally speaking, assisted death is a blatant disregard for the sanctity and respect for human life. She even goes as far as to call it “unconstitutional”. When describing the people who stand on either side of this argument of legalizing euthanasia, she says, “…it comes down to a direct conflict between the value of respect for human life, on the one hand, and individual rights to autonomy...
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